Black Friday teasers are everywhere you look – in your emails, your SMS’s and on all your social media timelines – and your Christmas shopping list may be growing longer with each one you see. But whilst you’re hunting for the best deals on the latest gadgets, Black Friday scammers only have one thing on their wish list – your private information.
Phishing is the most common form of cybercrime and involves the forgery of an email address to retrieve sensitive information, often used for financial gain. However, it isn’t the only tool in a hacker’s arsenal, and you need to scrutinise every ad you receive.
Many brave shoppers hit the stores armed with their comfiest running shoes and a detailed shopping plan-of-action in mind, to face the mayhem that is Black Friday shopping. The rest of us prefer the comfort of online shopping. This, however, comes with its own set of safety concerns.
Follow the following 6 safety tips to avoid falling victim to a Black Friday scam:
1. Ignore Pop-up Ads
Although they are often very tempting to click, pop-up ads should be avoided at all costs. Scammers often use them to direct you to a fake website and obtain personal login details. Clicking the ad can also spread Malware and viruses that lock you out of your computer or specific files – forcing you to pay to regain access. If you see an ad with an irresistible deal, rather visit the company’s website, if the deal is legitimate it will most likely feature there.
2. Use third party payment methods
Ideally, you should shop from familiar, trusted online platforms such as TakeALot and use third party payment methods, when made available. Using a reliable payment method such as PayPal means that the online store doesn’t receive your bank card information.
3. Ensure that your network is secure
Grabbing a coffee from your local café and making use of their free WiFi to do your Black Friday shopping might sound like a great idea, but it isn’t safe. If you’re out, rather use the network provided by your cell phone company or do all shopping from your home network.
4. Look for the little padlock
Websites that are safe to enter sensitive information should feature a small image of a padlock in front of the URL.
5. Diversify your passwords
These days we have a million and one online accounts and we’re all guilty of using the same password for just about everyone. Fraudsters know this and only need to scam you once to get access to every account and social media profile you have, further putting you at risk.
6. Monitor your bank account
It’s always a good idea to monitor the transactions made on your account, especially after making online purchases. With online banking, this has become easier than ever. Set notifications to be alerted of money coming out of your account and report any suspicious activity so that your bank may investigate and hopefully put a stop to the issue.
Happy Black Friday shopping and remember – no matter how amazing the deal – your safety is always more important.
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